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Everything posted by KEV67

  1. Westerns

    I was just reading the blurb of Whiskey When We're Dry (which I am currently reading). Guess what? It is currently in development for a feature film. I don't know if that means for sure it will be a feature film. I have a theory the reason why there are not many classic Western books is that they all get turned into films almost immediately. Regarding the scope of Westerns, would the forum consider The Last of the Mohicans a Western? I started reading, but I can't remember if I finished it. I remember it being pretty good. I watched the film with Daniel Day Lewis. I was impressed with his ability to run long distances very fast.
  2. I have tried reading Dracula before. I did not like it and gave it up, but I will try it again. I am thinking about reading something by John Faulkner because of the Great American Novel. I gather he used to write them, or at leàst one of them.
  3. Westerns

    Whiskey When We're all Dry is turning out better than I thought. There is something to be said about the Wild West. There are the vast spaces without much in the way of law. People were well armed. People were desperate. It was probably not a unique environment in those ways, but I cannot think of any quite the same. Sword and sandals books aren't quite the same. King Arthur books or Medieval books about knights aren't the same. Most the fighting is done by armies in those books. There's not so much private enterprise.
  4. Victober

    So many people are put off from reading Dickens by school. I was put off him. I decided to give him another chance on his 200th anniversary, by reading Great Expectations. It was the most moving book I've ever read. Bleak House comes near it in that's it's so well written. I have read about another six of his books. They all have something but none were be as good as Great Expectations and Bleak House in my view.
  5. I often feel ghost stories lack punch. They are often quite short for one thing. Another thing is that ghosts have a difficult time interacting with the living while remaining strictly ghosts. They can transmit information, but quite often they are stuck in their own time loop, and ignore the living world. On the other hand, they are the supernatural entity you are most likely to meet in your earthly life. Well, you might only think you meet them, but you are far more unlikely to meet any vampires, werewolves, zombies, minor deities, or devils. Come to think of it, you might meet a witch or a warlock, but whether those witches and warlocks can actually effect any real magic, probably not. Stephen King does ghosts quite a bit. There were ghosts in Bleak House and Tess of the d'Urbervilles. My favourite ghost story is actually, GBH by Ted Lewis, which is mostly a crime story.
  6. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

    Just Volume 4, part 4 and the epilogue to read. It turned into an appraisal of history for a while. I don't know what historians think of Tolstoy as a historian.
  7. Westerns

    Started reading a western called Whisky When We're Dry by John Larison. It's about a girl who's an amazing shot. No doubt she offs a load of bad guys when she gets a bit older. That's a thing I've noticed: even the westerns you can still buy in bookshops, with the big exception of Lonesome Dove, are a twist on the old macho western. I think Blood Meridian subverts the genre, but I have not read it yet. The last western I thought I was reading turned into some weird western/horror/sci-fi mash-up (Beyond the Horizon, Ryan Ireland). You can still buy True Grit by Charles Portis, which is a great book, but that's largely about a girl too.
  8. Which are the best stream-of-consciousness novels. I have only read two: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh. I think Trainspotting was stream-of-consciousness. It has been a long time since I read it.
  9. Books that make you blub

    There was a sad bit in War and Peace where one of the main characters dies. I deliberately did not read it on the train, because I was worried about blubbing. In the event I didn't blubb. I can't remember many times when I've blubbed reading stuff, but the last chapter of Watership Down does it for me. I don't know why, because it's a good an ending as you'd want for a rabbit getting on in years. It comforts me that it probably means Watership Down is actually a good book. I read it lots of times as a boy, but the last time I tried to read it as an adult, it seemed very old-fashioned. It is, however, one of only three books I have read in which a believable religion has been built by the author for its characters. The other two were by Ursula Le Guin for The Left Hand of Darkness, and J.R.R. Tolkein for The Simarilion, which was a sort of Bible for Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Actually, come to think of it, I blubbed the penultimate chapter of The Hobbit.
  10. I have heard a lot about it but I've never been. What's it like? Is it like Glastonbury? Can you camp?
  11. Books that make you blub

    You obviously have no soul.
  12. Books in HMV

    I quite like seeing which books are in sale in my local branch of HMV. Strange that the vinyl is so expensive, but the books are so cheap. Also strange is that whenever I try to re-buy a truly great record, which I used to have, they don't have it. What sort of record shop doesn't have Beck or The Violent Femmes? Anyway, getting back to books. I am often intrigued by their offerings. They have a lot of sci-fi, music memoirs and modern classics. They also sell books like Naked Lunch, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and The Men who Stare at Goats. I am delighted that they continue to sell A Clergyman's Daughter by George Orwell. Orwell disowned the book himself, but I thought it was great.
  13. Books in HMV

    They used to sell several books by Ira Levin. I was not aware he had written so many famous books. I did not know he'd written The Boys from Brazil, Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives. They are all more famous as films. I read Stepford Wives. I did not think it was as good as the film. I also bought The Talented Mr Ripley and White Teeth from there. I don't like all their range, but it is quite interesting what they think will most appeal to their customer base.
  14. Ballad of Halo Jones

    I think I might put the Ballad of Halo Jones on my TBR list. It is repeatedly cited on the 2000 AD forum list. That and Chopper, and both those stories were written over thirty years ago. I understand Halo Jones was written by Alan Moore, who seems to be the greatest comic writer who ever lived, despite his eccentricitities regarding royalties.
  15. Booktubers

    I generally found the BookTubers I followed pretty straightforward. Quite a few of them were undergraduates. Some of them work in publishing. I wondered if a big reason for starting their channels was to get into publishing, because I expect that is a difficult industry to get into. Some of them did review books they were sent. I suppose it is difficult to be brutally honest about a book when you have had contact with the author, but if they declare that they were sent the book, you can take that into account. I rarely read a book because I see it reviewed on YouTube.
  16. Booktubers

    I used to watch quite a few nice, young ladies on YouTube talk about books. I don't watch so many now. Sometimes they discontinue their channels. Sometimes they move into topics I am not so interested in. My favourite was Katie from Books and Things, who discusses Victorian literature a lot. She reads quick, she thinks quick, she speaks quick. I occasionally watch Becky M for science fiction book reviews. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNBgyHiLdu0lVN9Hr-xTLLw (Books and Things) https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCwpMfAT2jtdZ2VFH56nE6bg (Becky M) I have come across Ellie Dashwood recently. I am not sure she really counts as a BookTuber. She discusses subjects related to Jane Austen. She must be some sort of educator because she is so professional. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0AnXj-FmgHRtDcFMd_kFyQ (Ellie Dashwood) Another young lady whose content is amazing is Nerd Cookies. I don't think she really qualifies as a BookTuber, either because she discusses topics relating to LotR, Dune. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXYIDTytNEO3NgDVwdOKjWw There are quite a few YouTubers who interesting explore topics raised in Lord of the Rings.
  17. What's the ending of Kes like? I never watched the end of the DVD, because I was worried some spiteful scrote would poison the bird. The football match in the film was great. I remember our English school teacher reading out that section of the book, although we did not study the whole book. There was also an interesting bit in the film where the boys were caned. I don't think they told the child actors they were going to be caned for real.
  18. New Books Out in 2021

    I was interested in Project Hail Mary, a sci-fi book by Andy Weir. I can't find it in any of the local bookshops.
  19. Best seafaring books

    I have read: Moby Dick (Herman Melville) The Master and Commander series 1..20 (Patrick O' Brian) The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway) Lord Jim (Joseph Conrad) The Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad) The N****r of Narcissus (Joseph Conrad) HMS Ulysses (Alistair MacLean) The Horatio Hornblower series 1..6 (C.S. Forester) The Sea Wolf (Jack London) Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Defoe) I still have a few Hornblower books to read. So far I think Moby Dick's the best. Are there any other good ones?
  20. Best seafaring books

    I read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Coleridge Taylor. That's a seafaring poem. I try to avoid those sort of nutters myself. The wedding guest had more patience than I have. I'd have told him to get lost.
  21. Things in books that annoy you

    I don't like reading a book where the two romantic leads don't get together at the end. It's not that I really into romantic fiction. Sometimes I think an author thinks he can't give the readers what they want because where's the artistry in that? Unless it is a really great artistic ending, I would rather have the happy ending.
  22. Your thoughts to George Orwell 1984

    Oh yes, Big Brother, CCTV, mobile phones, everything being connected to the internet, deep surveillance. There was that side to 1984 too. 1984 is often classified as science fiction. When I read it, I wondered where the science fiction was. The only bit of technology that was not available when the book was written were two way screens and cameras. In the Cold War era, Communist countries such as East Germany and China encouraged the population to denounce their neighbours if they suspected they were not ideologically pure. I think if you had to constantly worry you might be denounced to the secret police by a colleague, friend or neighbour for not showing enough enthusiasm for the political system, that would make you more unhappy than the thought that the state was looking through your old social media posts.
  23. Your thoughts to George Orwell 1984

    I started to read it when I was 15 or 16. I got about three-quarters of the way through, and realised there were not enough pages left for Winston Smith to escape, join and maybe even lead the counter-revolution. I was disappointed and stopped reading. I should have read Fahrenheit 451 instead. When I was forty I read 1984 again and I thought it was brilliant. It has so many ideas you can see being acted out around us and around the world. The re-writing of history to suit a political agenda; the abuse of language to control thought; thought crime itself; double-think, which is the cognitive dissonance you put yourself through when you force yourself to believe what you know not to be true, because it is unsafe not to. I think that is partly why George Orwell is admired so much by the right in America and other places. It is a book about the deep cynicism of certain political leaders who manipulate social revolution to gain and maintain control of a state. If you read Orwell's later books and essays from Homage to Catalonia onwards, you can see that 1984 is a culmination of all his later political ideas.
  24. I am currently reading The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard. I am only going to give it two stars, but I was wondering whether I should give it one. When I rate books on Goodreads I am reluctant to hand out many five stars, but I still award more five stars than one stars. If I am enjoying a book so little, I would probably stop reading it, in which case I would not rate it all, which is like a U for ungraded. Usually I do plough on through a book, even if I am not enjoying it much. The only one I have not finished recently was Riders by Jilly Cooper. I heard it was better than it is usually given credit for, and it still appears on bookshelves and bookshops decades after it was published, so I thought I would give it a chance. However, I am just not in touch with my feminine side as much as I would need to be, and it is a very long book. Out of the 446 books I rated on Goodreads, 42 have five stars; only 13 have one star. This reminded me of school. I expect teachers do not like to hand out too many A's, but rarely give out any E's. I can remember getting some A's at school for my essays, as well as a few D's. I mostly got B's and C's. I don't remember getting any E's. Interestingly, I think there is a statistical bias in Goodreads ratings. Most books fall within the 3 to 4.5 stars range after ratings are averaged. If a book has under 3.5 stars, it is probably not that good a read. If it has over four stars, it probably is a good read. Thing is, I am not a book critic or academic assessing how good an author's work is. I am a reader reflecting how much I enjoyed the book, and I don't have to justify it, be consistent about my marking scheme, or take considerations of taste or viewpoint into account. Another difference between a teacher marking a pupil's work and me rating an author's book is that usually the teacher would know a lot more about the subject than the pupil, where as books are often written by the very brainy. Thus Virginia Woolf is a very great author. She must be because her books were 2nd and 3rd in the BBC Culture's Greatest British Novels poll. Neverheless, I thought Mrs Dalloway was tedious and To the Lighthouse was underwhelming. The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford was awful. Similarly, The Egoist by George Meredith. Don Quixote, is it really that good? I thought the second half was better than the first, but still. Problem is giving books like these one star while giving About a Boy by Nick Hornby five stars probably marks you out as a bit of a philistine, but maybe I should not worry about that.
  25. Grading books in Goodreads

    I like Mark Kermode. His film reviews on the radio with Simon Mayo are hilarious. That said, I regard these sort of review programmes as entertainment in themselves and very often do not agree with the professional critics. Barry Humphreys always used to go on about how great Babette's Feast was. I think it was about a Danish cook who comes into some money and spends it all on cooking a feast for her guests, because she used to work in a fancy French hotel or something. Yeah, that's just the sort of film Barry Humphreys would like. Peter Bradshaw of the Guardian loathed Joker. I thought it was the best film in 2019. Mark Kermode does not like The Big Lebowski. That was my favourite film for a long time.